Photos: Telling Trump to Close Guantánamo – The White House protest, Jan. 11, 2018

17.1.18

Campaigners calling for the closure of Guantanamo at the annual protest outside the White House on January 11, 2018, the 16th anniversary of the prison's opening.Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration.

 

See my photos on Flickr here!

On January 11, 2018, for the eighth year running, I joined protestors in Washington, D.C., calling on the US government to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, a shameful example of indefinite detention without charge or trial run by a country that claims to respect the rule of law, on the 16th anniversary of its opening. This was the first anniversary that Guantánamo has been under the control of Donald Trump, and there was a passion and an anger at the gathering, replacing the disappointment that was the hallmark of most of the Obama years.

I posted my thoughts about the day in a previous article, Telling Donald Trump to Close Guantánamo: My Report on an Inspiring 24 Hours of Protest and Resistance in Washington, D.C. on the 16th Anniversary of the Prison’s Opening, so this update is really more of an opportunity for you to see what went on in front of the White House — the placards and banners, some of the wonderful people involved, and, sadly, the heavy-handed police presence when five protestors tried to carry a banner towards the White House calling for the release of the 41 men still held “along with the thousands imprisoned in immigration detention centers and the millions of victims of hyper-incarceration in the US”, as one of the five, Brian Terrell, described it in an article afterwards.

As he put it, “To approach the White House, we needed to cross under yellow police line tape and were immediately arrested by uniformed Secret Service police. I have been attending protests at the White House since Jimmy Carter lived there and with each succeeding administration, the space allowed for political discourse has been reduced and the once protected free speech of citizens increasingly criminalized there. Under Trump, half the width of the formerly public sidewalk in front of the White House is fenced off, the inner perimeter now patrolled by officers armed with automatic weapons. Pennsylvania Avenue, long ago closed to vehicular traffic, is now closed off to pedestrians at the hint of a demonstration. This public forum, a place of protest and advocacy for more than a century, the place where the vote for women and benefits for veterans were won, has been strangled to the point where no dissent is tolerated there.”

The increased police presence was indeed a sign of a less tolerant presidency, something we have seen for the last 12 months as Donald Trump, flexing his Islamophobia and racism at Guantánamo by refusing to contemplate releasing anyone, even though five of the men still held were approved for release by high-level government review processes under President Obama, shamefully extends that racism to the whole country, via increased deportation dragnets, and internationally via repeated iterations of his vile and groundlessly racist travel ban.

For many years now, Guantánamo campaigners have been seeking to bring together different groups of campaigners — those opposing the US’s industrial-scale domestic prison system, for example, with its racist bias and its epidemic of solitary confinement, and, in recent years, the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sadly, the need for opposition is not going to go away anytime soon, with Trump at the head of a dangerously right-wing Republican government, but all we can hope for, in an effort to stay positive, is that new alliances can be forged, all of which continue to lead us to a hoped-for place — where there are enough of us to properly realize that we outnumber those who mean us harm, through their wars, their guns, their deportations, their courts and their prisons, whether on the mainland or on a naval base in Cuba.

I hope you enjoy the photos, and will share them if you do. Please also consider joining the new photo campaign I’ve launched via Close Guantánamo, counting how many days Guantánamo has been open, and urging Donald Trump to close it without further delay.

Also see the album here:

Telling Trump to close Guantanamo: The White House protest, Jan. 11, 2018

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Donald Trump No! Please Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2017), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

5 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, promoting the photo set I took at the annual protest against the continued existence of Guantanamo, outside the White House, on Jan. 11, which, this year, was the 16th anniversary of the prison’s opening, and the first anniversary in which it is open with Donald Trump as president. I reflect on the ongoing struggle to close Guantanamo, and also on the larger struggle against a racist president and administration, and, as I state, I hope that “new alliances can be forged, all of which continue to lead us to a hoped-for place — where there are enough of us to properly realize that we outnumber those who mean us harm, through their wars, their guns, their deportations, their courts and their prisons, whether on the mainland or on a naval base in Cuba.” I hope you have time to look at the photos, and will share them if you like them. Included are photos of five activists arrested in a heavy-handed police operation.

  2. Tom says...

    Posting links to this and other parts of your work in high visibility places.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Tom. I always appreciate any assistance in getting the word out. As you know, this is a world with a full-time multifaceted diversion machine trying to make people ignore what’s really going on.

  4. Tom says...

    Just curious. In your work and travels here to the States, have you ever been hassled by immigration, DHS, MI5 or someone else? Maybe MI5 still maintains files on people they suspect of having “subversive tendencies” (whatever that means).

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Funnily enough no, Tom – although as a lawyer friend of mine drily observes about the US, “We have freedom of speech, but only so long as you’re not annoying the powers-that-be too much.” I’m evidently only a minor irritant.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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